It’s June 30th and the editorial office of our NUSHI Fashion magazine is in large unrest. The reason is, that we were so lucky to be chosen to visit The Facility, perceived as “Eighth wonder of the world” by the public, just when wide rumors surfaced, that this unique and internationally admired museum could be soon closed, because The Corporation, who built it, allegedly plans to announce big reorganization, in fact, disintegration into smaller business fragments, and The Facility should be changed to an UNESCO protected world heritage site, publicly inaccesible, only during special occasions, like honoring soldiers who died here after the announcement of The Device, and all victims, military and civilian, of subsequent “18 hours war”.
This news came as a big surprise. After all, the economic, social and political position of The Corporation seems still unchallenged by any business competition or any adversaries worldwide. Anyway, The Corporation made no comment about it, they didn’t confirm or deny it, so many people think, that this rumor could be true. The shares of The Corporation suffered small decline of their value, but still, they are more than 25 times more valuable than Apple shares. The Device brought immense wealth to The Corporation, and it was them who established that famous quote, “money are just a number for us.”
(By the way, this sentence was allegedly said by the Executive Manager of The Corporation right before the announcement of The Device, when it was found, that their company accounts are completely out of funds, because they invested everything into their ultimate technological creation, which changed the world irrevocably. And today, this distinctive proverb is used by all social groups in all situations, when you can win major victory, or suffer an ultimate loss, as a modern version of famous “Alea Iacta Est”, or “Dices are thrown”)
The date could be set to tomorrow, but no press conference was yet called for. However, it’s quite usual strategy of The Corporation, to come with the most shocking news without warning in advance, so all media offices, including national TV stations, are prepared to send their best journalistic assets, even after short notice tomorrow.
However, it’s highly possible, that our today’s visit of The Facility could be the absolutely last public tour in the history. So you can imagine, how does it feel for our dear colleague Catherine, who was selected to be a part of the tour.
It should be noted, that The Corporation always chose the visitors herself. Anybody could apply to be allowed inside, but The Corporation always made the final decision, and many media offices was very surprised by their selection. Sometimes, they preferred an intern against much more experienced journalist, sometimes vice versa. However, as many journalists are very egocentric, they considered this a humiliating procedure, and many critical articles against The Corporation were the result.
“It could be their media strategy, to intentionally provoke rash reactions by the press,” a media expert remarks to the issue. “They like to show people, that The Corporation is who rules here, who pulls all strings, and no so called ‘seventh power’ can change it.”
It is very strange, but the imagination, that the whole game could end tomorrow, disappearing with The Corporation to the ashes of the history of mankind, is completely disturbing. The society simply got used to all that commotion, excitement and amusement. So, when you read today’s newspapers, some dark and sad mood can be read between lines, like if everybody would be expecting another fall of Rome, bringing much sentiment, melancholy, and even fear from the uncertain future into human minds.
But let’s stay in the present. As many philosophers say, today is the only day we really have, because tomorrow is the most uncertain.
The tour begins surprisingly not at the central entrance gate, but in a nearby deep wood. The road, which leads here, is in very bad condition, and nobody made any effort to repair it, ever. The Corporation explained it with effort to “preserve the past untouched, even it was not perfect.”
It’s necessary to introduce the members of the visiting group, which is always made by the same pattern. Only one journalist is allowed, and he or she is accompanied by one elder person, which represents the previous retired generation, one young, a highly talented person, who represents the upcoming generation, the future to the nation (usually a pupil of the last year of Grammar school, with very high perspective of very good employment in the future), and one woman who has children, a mother, who represents the continuation of society.
These four citizens are accompanied by two tour guides (one representing the Czech Military, one representing The Corporation), so they can serve balanced explanation of the whole exhibit and historical events, and four members of the Military Police, serving as a security escort: The Facility and all grounds around it are still under the control of the Military and it has extrajudical status, out of Czech law, under supervision of the United Nations.
All visitors are warned in advance, and they have to sign the matching, highly detailed document, that the site is under special law status, and their presence inside can have special consequences, including “extrajudical punishment, if any offensive action or desacration will be commited” and “serious bodily harm, including death, can be suffered”, because “… you are entering the military installation, where weapons, live ammunition and explosives were stored and used in the past, including combat action.“
Media always compared these heavy precautions to the situation at famous “JSA”, or Joint Security Area, between Northern Korea and Southern Korea, but honestly, nobody of the group takes the warnings too seriously, because all are eager to start the tour. (Note: the young student signs the document together with his legal guardians, parents, and he or she is psychologically assessed in advance, if visiting this place won’t influence his psychological development. To visit the site, the student has to celebrate his or her 15th birthday previously)
After getting out of the transport vehicle, which is an unmarked van, provided by The Corporation, the whole group is in the deep, even dark wood. It’s strangely calming and pleasant, in comparison with fast speed living in all modern cities.
The tour guide, representing The Corporation, a female in her late 20’s, begins her narration.
“We are starting the tour at this special place intentionally,” she explains. “You have an unique opportunity to visit the same place, which was visited by The Asset, to see what her eyes saw, to step on the same ground. It’s just a wood, but the world history was written here. The trees around are witnesses.”
The Asset is very publicly famous, and also controversial figure. Many claim, that she never existed, and she was manufactured by The Corporation for propaganda purposes, as the part of their “Operation Naked Truth” charade, another people say, that she was the victim, and the last group worships her as “modern female hero, who gave her life for welfare of us all.”
However, when the guide says the previous sentence, all people look at their feet instinctively, and then, they watch the vicinity with their eyes carefully. The magic starts to work. Everybody understands, how was it possible for The Corporation to get so far: they are like magicians, selling you the unique mixture of truth, lies, and your own dreams and imaginations.
As we go through the wood, on a barely visible forest path, everybody of the group is silent. We go in silence, quite slowly, so the elder member can enjoy the walk without any difficulty, and all eyes are on the ground, where “her” feet maybe also touched. So many people would like to meet this famous figure, to ask her about the truth, but it’s not possible – she is missing, maybe deceased.
After a while, we arrive to a fence with warning sign “Military Area – Keep out – No entry”, and four lightly armed members of the Military Police are joining us. Here begins the strictly controlled area of The Facility.
In the distance, you can see the famous bunker, depicted on thousands of photos, videos, even paintings. It looks very small, calm, even peaceful. The green grass grows everywhere around, and fields are green. But many soldiers died here.
“We are standing at the place, where the ambush begun,” the guide from the Military takes the word, breaking the silence. “After jamming our electronic communications, the enemy prevented us to call any immediate air or artillery support, and the defenders of the site were on their own, without any hope of getting any help or reinforcements. It was all so fast, it took less than half of an hour, from the first shots fired, until exfiltration of the enemy forces. They left no dead body behind – they really wanted to assure that their identity will remain a mystery for us forever. So they intentionally used many different weapons and ammunition of different origin, from East and West, to leave no trails, or proofs. They also used some chemicals to disable any DNA analysis from the environment.”
This tale is very well known from media and books. After the public announcement, that The Device is fully operational, an unknown enemy tried to attack The Facility, where The Device was built, to get their hands on it, or to force the defenders to use the auto-destruction procedure to prevent any misuse of The Device by the enemy forces. In that moment, it was generally believed, that The Device is allegedly a time displacement machine: that is what The Corporation wanted, to deceive the world, to gain the most of advantages.
Neither The Corporation, or the state, made any allegations against any potential culprit, any other state or organization, with effort to stabilize the situation, not to escalate it further. But there is a rumor, that some clues were found later, and the identity of the attackers is known, but deliberately hidden from public knowledge, to gain some unknown advantages against the culprit.
The MPs keep their distance and we continue walking along the fence, to the central gate. The fence is reinforced, with barbed wire and sensors. Also we are informed, that the ground behind the fence is full of proximity sensors, still active, connected with flares, with the purpose of preventing any illegal visitor from entering. However, all anti-tank mines and explosive traps were deactivated and removed.
The young student asks curiously, what would happen to somebody, who would cross the fence, and he or she would get caught inside, without any authorized entry, and whether such incident happened in the past.
“There is an exact procedure for detaining all intruders,” the guide explains with smile. “We would search you for potential weapons at first, we would identify you, and then we would inform the local court, that your person was detained according to the military law. You would get a lawyer immediately, free of charge, who has full knowledge of local judical specialities. So, your human rights would stay preserved, and then, the deep investigation would start. We would like to know, who are you, why you came here, what was your intention, if it was just a coincidence, or an intentional action, who are your contacts, who persuaded you to do it, and so on… we would simply like to find your motives and background, like in case of any other criminal investigation you know from the movies.
In the end, we would either hand you to the normal Police, with very serious warning, and you would be forced to pay a big fine, or we would send you to a military court, to judge your action and to declare the sentence, which could be even serving some time in jail. In any case, the state secret service and Military Counterintelligence would watch you very closely in the future. No spy has his profession written on his or her forehead, after all,” the guide concludes her reply with smile, and even she was talking about harsh consequences, nobody is disturbed, and the good mood in the group is preserved. She refuses to say, however, whether such incidents happened, or not.
And now we are coming to the entry gate. Only here, the vehicles can enter The Facility. The gate is guarded only lightly, because the Military wanted to keep the installation as low-profile as possible, so no heavily reinforced concrete structures were built here, when The Facility was constructed.
The bunker is closer now, but it still seems unexpectedly small, like some optical illusion.
When the gate opens and we are finally inside, all people are completely stunned, full of expectations. We are here! Only hundreds of persons from the whole world were allowed to enter inside in the past! We all are the blessed ones! Without any doubt, the young student will become a star in the class tomorrow, posting pictures online, taken by a mobile phone: photographs are allowed outside.
We go through the green field, above the dusty road without any asphalt cover. It’s intentionally built this way, under the level of terrain, to hide any traffic from unwelcomed eyes. The tanks tracks are still visible on the road: after the ambush of the enemy, heavily armored reinforcements arrived here in full speed, but it was too late, the attackers were long gone already.
Suddenly, all eyes are on the only conspicuous object around: the burned wreckage of an APC (armored personnel carrier), obviously hit by a tank grenade, which was inserted here as a distinct monument of “bravery of our soldiers, who lost their lives to protect our sovereignity and future of our country.” The vehicle is placed with its back side to The Facility, like if it would still be trying to defend it from some attackers from the outside.
This particular APC, with barely visible white number “283” on the gun tower, has a long and sad history itself. It’s one of the two BMP-2 vehicles, which remained from an armored convoy, send from Prague with a highly classified mission behind enemy lines, which arrived at Lhota village, 20km west of Prague, the last bridgehead on the left bank of the Vltava river during so called “18 hours war”, and which was destroyed during subsequent combat with overwhelming armored force of the enemy, following heavy airstrike.
However, this ultimate sacrifice was not vain. The defenders of Lhota village fought bravely to the last man, allowing the Special Forces commando from 102nd Reconnaissance Batallion, carrying the critical package in their backpacks, to detach from the enemy successfully, to hide in the woods, and to continue with their most important mission, which saved lives of thousand people and the whole country in the end, bringing the peace back. And this particular vehicle, callsign “TETA”, allegedly carried the package.
(From Lhota village, the soldiers carried the package in their backpacks. At first, they were charged with theft and high treason, but later, the commander of the unit was awarded with the highest Czech military decoration, The Order of The White Lion. The president commented this action, made without any consultation with the high military command: “In the most difficult hour of the republic, there is only a thin line between heroism and high treason.”)
The APC exhibit has very expressive name: “Price of Peace”, and it caused high controversy between veterans of the war, who consider it as inappropriate and even “insulting”, and they asked to remove it from this grounds, because they blame The Corporation, that their sacrifices were “part of their nasty game for power”.
But no member of our group declares any open opinion of the issue, and they curiously look at the back door of the APC, partially opened, so the interior is visible a little bit. At first, we recognize only some burned cables, empty ammunition belts for the main 30mm cannon and similiar mess, but then, the guide points out to a inconspicuos object on the floor, and we all know, that this is the box which carried “the package”, which saved us in the last hour, but many good men had to pay the ultimate price to deliver it where it belonged, so it could change something.
And here is the bunker! We see the casemates, which originally contained automated 20mm cannons, but the enemy was allegedly able to disable them, using EMP grenades. All defensive armament was later removed from the site, to show the world, that here, the fight is over, forever, those who died here want to rest in undisturbed eternal peace they finallly deserve, and The Facility is now only a monument.
But it’s time to move. The sky is covered with dark clouds suddenly, and it is so magical, making your body shaking in expectation of something ordinary, maybe a deepest experience of your life: because soon, we will enter The Facility, an underground complex, which contains the most amazing invention of human history, which changed our past, present and future forever: The Device.
We will see the object, which was seen only by several hundreds of eyes before us, and no official photo of it exists: it’s still classified, because foreign Intelligence services are still sniffing, eager to get their hands on it.
We are searched by Military Police very carefully: no means of communication or cameras are allowed inside. But nobody complains. In this moment, anybody of us would give anything to be allowed inside, to see it finally! The elder man seems to be the most calm, but the rest of us are completely uneasy, restless.
It will really happen, it seems! We watch the massive armored door with hunger and impatience. We hear the last instructions of the MPs, what are the strict rules of behavior inside, but we hear it only in the distance. All our senses hypnotize the door, begging them to open already. The door has still a big hole visible, when the enemy used a big explosive charge to get inside, to fight their way in, ready to pay any price to seize The Device.
We won’t be forced to fight to be allowed inside. But our guide points back to the armored wreck behind us, with burned bodywork and tattered armor, but still a silent, proud guard on eternal symbolic watch, to remind us the last time, how much our freedom, peace and future costed, and that we should enter the site with the utmost respect.
And then, the doors are opening, so slowly… and we all are losing our breath.
We are now becoming a part of history!
Continuation: “Inside The Facility: The eighth wonder of the world”